Bishop Celino, New Auxiliary of El Paso

The Most Rev. Anthony Cerdan Celino, (50) a priest of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas will be ordained the Titular Bishop of Maronana and Auxiliary of El Paso on March 31.

Bishop Celino’s armorial bearings represent his family name and symbols of his origins and his own devotional life. The main part of the shield is composed of a blue field and a silver (white) base with a distinctive division line called “nebuly” that is used in heraldic art to represent clouds. Together these elements suggest the sky as an allusion to the Bishop’s family name—Celino—which means a little sky.

The largest object in the daytime sky is, of course the sun. The main charge on the upper part of the shield is a gold (yellow) sun on which appears the three letters “IHS” in red. This sunburst charged with the monogram for the Holy Name of Jesus is used as a symbol for St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The Bishop has had a particular devotion to St. Ignatius since his own confirmation. In addition, the particular way the sun is drawn is taken from the image of the sun on the coat of arms and the flag of the Philippines, the country where the Bishop was born.

On either side of the sun are two silver (white) lilies. The lily is traditionally used in heraldry to represent St. Anthony of Padua, the Bishop’s baptismal patron. In addition, having been born on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena (April 29) the Bishop has always had a devotion to her as well. Coincidentally, the heraldic symbol for St. Catherine is also a lily. So, the two lilies represent the Bishop’s patron saints.

The lower half shows three red roses on a silver (white) background which represents a cloud. The roses are symbols of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. In connection with the appearance of Our Lady to Juan Diego the miraculous blooming of roses in December occurred. Throughout his priesthood he has had a strong devotion to Mary specifically under this title.

The motto below the shield is “Servire Tibi Sicut Mereris” (To Serve You as You deserve) from the Prayer of Generosity attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola, as a further allusion to the Bishop’s great devotion to and inspiration from that saint..

The shield is ensigned with those external ornaments that indicate the bearer is a bishop. The gold (yellow) episcopal cross, not to be confused with a processional cross, is placed vertically behind and extending above and below the shield. In former times archbishops, and later all bishops, had a cross mounted on a staff carried immediately in front of them while in procession or on solemn occasions. This cross was a symbol of their rank as bishop. While such an episcopal cross is no longer used practically it has been retained heraldically. In fact, there are other clerics who make use of the ecclesiastical hat with its many tassels but the one true heraldic emblem of a bishop, and the only essential one, is the episcopal cross placed behind the shield.

Above the shield is the ecclesiastical hat, called a galero which, in heraldry, replaces the martial helmet, mantling and crest. “The hat with six pendant tassels (green, purple or black) on each side is universally considered in heraldry as the sign of prelacy. It, therefore, pertains to all who are actually prelates.” (Heim, Bruno B., Heraldry in the Catholic Church 1978, page 114) The galero is green with green cords pendant from it and twelve green tassels arranged in a pyramid shape on either side of the shield. At one time in history bishops and archbishops wore green before adopting the Roman purple we see today. In heraldry the green hat and tassels was retained for prelates with the rank of bishop according to the Instruction of the Secretariat of State, “Ut Sive” of March, 1969.

I was privileged to assist Bishop Celino with the design and execution of his coat of arms.

4 thoughts on “Bishop Celino, New Auxiliary of El Paso

  1. manareleven

    Very nice, Fr Guy.

    I can only apologise for the lack of antipodean work to challenge you.

    Have you ever thought of publishing an armorial? Preferably hard copy but at least online.

    Regards and best wishes,


    President Emeritus Convenor Ecclesiastical Working Party The Australian Heraldry Society

  2. Hans van Heijningen

    Congratulations fr.Guy. Simple.
    This aux. is young enough to become a residential bishop at some moment. So I am also glad this can be marshalled in an easy way.


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